Montana Gift Guide

December 12, 2017

I know these gift guides can be a little repetitive this time of year. But who doesn’t love and need a good gift guide. They serve their purpose for sure and you might get some new ideas from sites and brands you otherwise may not have heard of. Plus this year I am highlighting all Montana Makers so it doesn’t get any better than that! Happy Shopping my friends. XO Kate

Silver Gate Tote. Beargrass Leather ($175) Recently found this leather maker and boy am I lusting over her bags. So many to choose from.

Shaped Straw Hat. Rocky Mountain Hat Company ($50) This father and son duo is definitely worth checking out. John will fit you for a straw hat for $50 and shape it however you want. And the best part is you can get it re-shaped later if you decide it doesn’t suit you are you get bored with that style!

Cedar and Rose Smudge Stick and Lip and Cheek Stain. Wilder Goods ($16 and $12) Perfect gift for a girlfriend. I’ve been using the Lip and Cheek Stain for years!

Chef’s Utility Knife. DeDe Knives ($75) Okay, so he’s out of Colorado but he uses hi-carbon sawmill blades collected from Montana sawmills, which I think is very cool. There is a good assortment on display at a shop around the corner from AW. I forget the name.

All Purpose Cream. Sturdy Girl ($15) Throw in a pair of gardening gloves for a complete package.

Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur. Headframe Spirits ($24.99) Say good-bye to Baileys this is a must for the holidays!

ARC Earrings.  Townsend Collective ($46)  I feel like these could be good everydayers.

Baby Romper. Lady and Little Bug ( $34.95) All organic American milled cotton and so so adorable.

Dinner Plates. Shady Grove Pottery ($30) Honestly, the most beautiful dinner plates I’v ever owned. They make me happy every night.

Handmade Wooden Bowls. Stanley Woodworking (varies) I’ve had my eye on one for awhile now. So many perfect sizes for serving big salads during the holidays!

New and Vintage Records. Cactus Records ($varies) My mom gifted me a record player last year for Christmas so we have spent the last 12 months collecting records. Or I always like a new Christmas CD. I bought one last night at the Brasstacular performance featuring special guest Ryan Anthony and the Bozeman Symphony. So good! Oh and if you are in Cactus Records they have a fun vintage Montana made Oro y Plata tee.

Cookies and treats. Homemade (priceless). My previous post links to my Top 12 Picks for the season. Peruse a second hand store for a fun vintage tin to fill. I always think you can’t go wrong with homemade and cookies!

My Top 12 | Holiday Cookies

November 28, 2017

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving gathered around the table with familiar faces and maybe some new ones too. After all, ‘Tis the Season to take it easy and enjoy the company of friends and family. To eat, drink and be merry. So don’t be silly and start a diet, keep the ball rolling and let’s be 100% Christmas!

To kick off the Christmas season my sister and I are hosting a cookie swap this weekend and in preparation I’ve selected my top 12 picks for 2017. There’s a good mix here. Some healthy, others not so much. Different shapes and sizes that will fill a platter nicely. I also tried to select recipes that seemed quick and easy so I could whip up a couple different kinds. I made number 9 last night while dinner was cooking.

I would love to hear which ones you try and if they were the first to disappear. 🙂

1.    Chocolate + Peanut Butter Fudge.

2.   Slice n Bake Vanilla Brown Butter and Pecan Cookies….Dipped in Chocolate.

3.   Ultimate Ginger Cookie.

4.   Rocky Road Bars.

5.   Chai Spiced Cookies.

6.   Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls.

7.   Nut Quinoa and Chocolate Bars.

8.   Peanut Butter Blossoms.

9.   Coconut Macarons.

10.   Peanut Butter Bliss Balls.

11.   Brown Butter Shortbread.

12.   Peanut Butter and Pretzel Bars.

 

 

Highlands Egg Nog Cocktail. It’s not a cookie but I am quite certain it would pair perfectly with these holiday treats. Cheers!

Autumn Recipe Inspiration + Other Fun Stuff

October 27, 2017

I really wanted to share my Autumn Recipe index since I am sure it will be winter in about a week. Life’s been busy around here so I am a gal of few words this time. Sorry. #novembergoals

Autumn Recipe Inspiration

Pear and Potato Salad with Pickled Mustard Seeds and Sausage. This is a winner.

Hasselback Potatoes with Kale Pesto. I used this chimichurri sauce instead. I used a full bunch of cilantro and no parsley and I think I added an extra clove of garlic. I really like the addition of oregano here.

Buttery Celery Tortellini. I haven’t tried this one yet but the combo seems interesting.

Cheesy Baked Gnocchi with Kale. Just good ol’ comfort food here.

Sticky Sesame and Ginger Pork Meatballs with Soba Noodles. This recipe is absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy. I used half pork and half beef for the meatballs and Costco has been carrying a Ramen Noodle made with brown rice and millet that is an awesome noodle substitute.

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken French Bread. Try this for Sunday night football or for a World Series game. Your husband/boyfriend/family/friends will love you!

Caramel Affogato with Cinnamon Churros. OMG, what a decadent treat. This could be shared with friends next to a warm fire in minutes. Just pick up a couple churros from Costco the day of and the rest is easy peasy!

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies. These have been on my to-make list for awhile now. You will get an insta report soon!

Cream Cheese Cake. I’ve tried a number of cheesecakes but still searching for ‘the one’. Guess this recipe is next in line with Thanksgiving around the corner.

Cocktail of the Month. Dogear this one for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Other Fun Stuff

C&H Jeans. I bought the Rocket High Rise. Seriously the best pair of jeans I’ve owned. Worth every dollar.

Metallic Lipstick. I’ve been wearing brick metal and bronzed burgundy. Perfect Fall colors and I also bought Flamingo Floss for our upcoming Mexico vacay! They are currently buy one get the second 50% off!

Mamacita Tee. All you mothers need to rock this tee! They have other styles too if the V isn’t your look.

Indy Brand. Snuggle up on the couch with one of their cute comfy sweatshirts.

The Flower Hat. Check out their shop on 10/30 and order Julio’s favorite bulbs.

End of Summer Recipe Inspiration + Other Fun Stuff

August 31, 2017

I hope you’ve been summering well. You know, checking off fun activities like camping, fishing, hiking, boating, traveling, or whatever it is you like to do in the heat. For me, its mostly morning and/or evening fires with a hot latte or glass of crisp rose, riveting conversation or reading material. I also like to spend time in the garden and take long evening walks when the air is still warm but not hot. For some odd reason that perfect temperature calls to memory some of my favorite years of summer fun. I just love it and it makes me feel forever youthful. We also managed to squeeze in the annual camp trip with the nephew and nieces, cast a couple lines, hike a mountain, clink a couple beer glasses in Ireland and cut loose at my little sister’s wedding celebration. So I’d chalk it up to another great summer. But I can’t help to notice that the days are getting shorter and the morning and evening temps are significantly dropping at sunset.  I hate to say it folks but we’re on the brink of Autumn. So I thought I would share a bunch of summer recipes with you before we move into a new season. Some I have been whipping up all summer and the others are on my list to try before the good summer produce vaniches. Let me know if you try any and which one was your favorite!

P.S. I also included a couple fun non-recipe links at the very end.

XO

Crepes with Vanilla Bean Roasted Rhubarb. I have been making these for Sunday breakfast all summer. Instead of roasted rhubarb though I have been making more of a rhubarb compote and topping with strawberries and then raspberries as the summer progressed.

Peggy’s Coffee Cake. This is as good as the article makes it out to be. I’ve made it for the construction and ranch crew a couple times this summer. I tried it in a bunt pan and 8×8 baking dish and I think it tastes better in the baking dish!

Cold Brew with Coconut Creamer. I haven’t tried this creamer yet but its on my list while I am still drinking cold brews.

Healthy(ish) Truffles. I have been making variations of this sweet treat all summer and storing them in my freezer for a 10 o’clock snack. I use almond butter and about half as much as the recipe calls for and I add a generous amount of raw cocoa. Never have dates on hand? I buy a big container of fresh dates from Costco and they keep in the fridge. I am surprised how long they store.

Tartines. Fun idea for a quick and healthy lunch. Get creative with your own combinations. My go-to is homemade hummus and avocado with lemon pepper and sea salt flakes (not so creative but that’s what I like)!

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad. If you aren’t at the farmer’s market buying a baker’s dozen of fresh corn……you are crazy!

Four Bean Salad. I make this every summer. So glad my mom’s friend shared her recipe.

Tomatoes and White Bread Salad with Mayonnaise Dressing. You also need to make the pickled tomatoes ahead of time but don’t worry it’s really quick and easy!

Edamame Quinoa Salad. Use your fresh tomatoes and corn right now.

Chicken Avocado Cilantro Lime Soup and Minestrone Verde. This happens every year right about now. I start craving Autumn soups and its too darn early. Usually I make a batch of my corn chowder since corn is what I am picking but this year I switched it up.

Rice and Beans with Steak and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. If you didn’t grow tomatillos than use a fresh red salsa or any salsa you fancy for that matter! Quick and easy dinner that is delicious.

Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake. I tried this the other night, its super easy and who doesn’t like a pasta bake. I substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche, I added 2 c. of shredded zucchini to the pasta and roasted some sweet onion slices with the zucchini rounds.

Heirloom Tomato Cheddar Tart with Everything Spice. If this doesn’t make you drool than watch the video here. My tomatoes are ripening on the vine so I will be trying this out shortly! Puff pastry is the only ingredient you might have to run to the market for.

Potato Waffles. Okay, this is probably more of a Fall recipe but I don’t care it’s on my summer list.

Honey Mascarpone Tart with Figs and a Salty Graham Cracker Crust. I want/need to make this so badly but instead of figs I want to use ripe juicy peaches that you can find fresh right now. I read through the post and it seems like a simple tart with only 8 ingredients and shouldn’t take long since its a NO bake.

Whole Fruit Pineapple Peach Lemonade. Have not tried this but with fresh ripe peaches in season I think its a must try.

Honeydew Jalapeno Margaritas. Definitely need to try this recipe.

El Diablo Cocktail. I had know idea what sotol was. After a little research, I found that it’s tequila’s crazy little brother. Think I might like him!

Native Deodorant. Paraben Free, Aluminum Free and Non Toxic Ingredients plus its free shipping and retuns. The coconut vanilla smells like tropical heaven.

I’ve been thinking about these sandals for awhile now. I really should just treat myself for working so darn hard this summer! 🙂

Have you heard about Tocos? It is suppose to act like a creamer but its non-dairy. You can add it your oatmeal, coffee and smoothies to name a few. It’s suppose to do wonders for your skin so I decided I had to try it.

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel. Bye bye baby oil hello self tanner.

I bought these sunglasses for my mother and they look awesome on her. So much I want to get the same pair but might do these instead.

I think I might finally break down and buy myself a Vitamix Blender. They are running a Labor Day sale. I really want to start making the Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning.

Read this fun little article 10 Things You Need in Your Kitchen According to a Parisian. I couldn’t agree more and also think it’s good entertainment advice. However, I have a wee problem with #9, a splash of full fat milk is a must!

Ireland + My Travel Checklist

August 4, 2017

Blue Flag Beach

Errislannan

The thermometer is reading well above 90 degrees these days, which means my upstairs office, where I am currently working, feels like a sauna. So looking through these photos from misty Ireland has me wishing I was still clinking cold beer mugs with my husband’s Irish kin.

I’m only sharing a couple photos on my site but if you want to see more lush landscape and charming towns click here. We started our trip in Dublin, navigated by map through countryside to Donegal in northern Ireland and then dropped into the Connemara region where Luke’s family roots are planted. It was so much fun visiting with familiar faces and meeting new ones. We definitely have to visit more often.

Clifden

slieve league

After a couple years of travel now, I think I have my travel checklist finessed. However, don’t be shy if you have a suggestion. There’s no doubt in my mind that I missing something totally awesome and life changing! I must note that this checklist is really for the items you might not think of or forget time after time. It’s not necessarily for your daily outfits which is really specific to where and when you are traveling and what you plan to do on your trip.

Clothing

…Coverup and swimsuit.
…Jeans. I recently bought a pair of C&H that are amazing!
…Dresses.
…Black shirt dress.
…Black leggings. I often find myself living in these.
Jumpsuit that I can dress up or down.
…Cardigans.
…PJs (I forgot these on this trip)
…Extra underwear and socks. Cuba is responsible for this addition.
…A warmer sweater or coat that I usually wear on the plane.
…Shoes. I usually bring three pair. One for walking, a casual pair and a dressier pair for evenings.

Cosmetics/Medicine Kit

…Nail file, clippers and tweezers.
Dry shampoo. I hate packing lots of shampoo and usually hotel shampoo is too harsh on my hair so this helps cut down on washes.
…Essential oils. At least peppermint and on guard.
…Alieve. For when you party too hard. 🙂
…Eye drops and spare pair of contacts.
…Face towelettes for removing makeup.
…Travel sized perfume. Always want to smell good. I bring two Le Labo samples.
…Feminine products and anti diarrhea pills (if needed).
Hair bun. If you haven’t used one of these, you have to try it. You’ll love the size of bun it creates and you can get different sizes.
…Hand sanitizer. Always.

Ireland

Irish Sheep

Accessories

…Two scarves. Maybe one light and one heavier weight. Or one casual and one fancier. Just give yourself options.
…Sunglasses. I usually bring two pair. They can really spice up a boring outfit or hide tired eyes.
….Backpack and clutch. The clutch can double as a wallet and during the day thrown into your backpack.
…Separate travel wallet for passport, tickets and other important docs. I have a black one that zips so I don’t lose anything.
…Belt. I recently forgot this and won’t make that mistake again.
…Light towel/blanket. You never know when you might want to take a nap under a shady tree, have a picnic on the beach. practice yoga, or actually use to warm up or dry off.
Spare bag. Find one that rolls up so it doesn’t take any extra space. I find it comes in handy for a day at the beach, carrying home souvenirs, dirty laundry, etc.
…Sun hat or ball cap. Helps hide bad hair days while keeping the sun off your face!
…Jewelry. I usually pack 2 pair of earrings. One I can wear most days and the other a bit more fun. I usually bring a versatile necklace and my scapular that I wear on the plane and a watch.
…Bath slippers. Some hotels provide these but there a must for me so I usually throw a pair in just in case.
…Raincoat and umbrella. These may note be necessary depending on the destination and time of year.
…Corkscrew and bottle opener.

Westport Ireland

Other

…Camera and both camera and phone chargers. Earbuds too.
…Converter. Some hotels have a spare one but if you have one it definitely doesn’t hurt to throw in when traveling internationally.
…Travel locks. They are small and it never hurts to be on the safe side.
…Journal. I loved to keep notes throughout the trip.
…Earplugs and eye mask. I usually only pack these when there’s an overnight flight.
…Salad and salty snacks for the plane. Maybe I need a follow up post of my travel meals!
…Dominoes or cards. They are easy to pack and Luke and I love to play them everywhere!
Small gift. I added this to the list just after our Ireland trip because two hotels were an incredible help to us. Would have been nice to give them a taste of MT.

Kylemore Abbey

To Dos

…Download podcasts for the plane. Some of my favorite right now are How I Built This (Samuel Adams, Mark Cuban, Dry Bar: Alli Webb), Kimberly Snyder and this one. What are you listening to right now?
…Call credit card companies and banks informing them of your travel dates and location (only when leaving the country).
…Print out car insurance for rental coverage.
…Take out cash and exchange money if necessary. Sometimes Luke and I just exchange some of our dollars at the destination airport.
…Decide on phone plan if traveling internationally. A lot of times you can get by just using Whats App.
…Water house plants.
…Take out the garbage.
…I like to vacuum so I come home to a clean house.
…Feed pets. We have a cat so she is pretty self sufficient!
…Lock house. When you live in the country you forget to do this!

SO, WHAT DID I MISS?!

Home Sweet Home | Part 2

June 17, 2017

Okay, so the last time I said Hello was back in November. A family member brought that to my attention a couple weeks ago. He thought I had unfriended him!

So I’m thinking it’s probably about time to check-in again.

Some days, some times I feel the pressure (or perhaps create the pressure myself) to build and live in a big fancy home. After all, that is what Luke and I do. So it’s kind of ironic really that we live in a small old farm house. It has three bedrooms and one bathroom, an open living dining space and a small kitchen. It’s perfect really. Well, I wish it had a big kitchen and one more bathroom so I don’t have to share it with my husband or teenage niece when she stays (just kidding). But honestly, this is the first place we’ve lived that really feels like home. We have slowly made little improvements here and there. If you can remember last summer I posted some photos here after we removed the shag carpet and popcorn ceiling in the living dining area. We’ve also painted almost the entire house, replaced the roof and some windows, built a new deck, spent a lot of time in the yard and tore down a couple outbuildings that I think was home to a bazillion ‘coons. Which unfortunately did not solve our ‘coon problem. They’re still snooping around and digging up all my flowers beds. So we’ve been fighting back with guns and traps as of late.

We recently had to remove the perfectly good carpet in the master bedroom of the house we just built. Since I hate waste and it’s been almost a year since our last big improvement, I decided to bat my eye lashes and ask Luke nicely if he’d install it in our bedroom. Being the nice husband that he is we now have silk threaded carpet that feels amazing on our bare feet! And being the project starter that I am we now have fresh paint on the walls, ceiling and trim, new bedside tables and I’ve started a photo wall. Once I get the ball rolling its hard to stop, which is exactly why I have to remind myself that fancy carpet or a big expensive range and marble bathroom isn’t what makes a home. What makes a home is love + family and friends + good eats! And one of my best friends is the perfect role model. She has remodeled every single house into a home by filling it with exactly that; love, company and trits! And well a lot of awesome art that doesn’t hurt!

Portrait Wall

I came across this pin a couple weeks ago that was the inspiration behind my photo wall. After digging through my archives these are the photos I am playing with. What do you think? Which ones are you favorite? And yes, I kind of like the artichoke in color even though the rest are in black and white.

Picture frames are 16×20 for a 11×14 photo. From Michaels and they might still be 40% off!

Painted the walls Dove White. Anyone else have a problem with how many options we have for ‘white’?

Trim is Bright White.

Bedside tables here. I went with my gut and also my rule to buy pieces (whether furniture, art,cookware, etc) that stand the test of time. Purchase pieces you just can’t live without and that will adapt to different rooms and spots with time.

These linen sheets in smoke are amazing.

Our ‘master’ bedroom is quite small so that’s basically it after we move the bed, headboard and dresser back in. I mean our closet doubles as a pantry so there’s only so much we can do!

Oh and in the last year I have been trying to de-clutter my life which definitely includes our home. If it doesn’t spark joy, its gotta go and I am trying to be very conscious of my purchases. So with that being said I want to leave you with the following words.

“Everything we own, owns us. We have to care for it, maintain it, store it, fix it, improve it, etc.” It’s been awhile but I think this came from an article out of BEEF Magazine and spoken by a wise wise man. He was getting at a very simple yet salient point – life and business are more efficient, effective and enjoyable when they are devoid of clutter, including things we don’t need and tasks that don’t add value.

Have a great week!

Katie Cooper Portrait Wall

Thanksgiving Inspiration

November 22, 2016

thanksgiving-inspiration

Hey, its Thanksgiving week so I thought I would share a couple inspiring recipes and tips for Thursday’s feast. Still keep your tried and trues but it never hurts to mix things up a little. Keep in mind I haven’t tried any of the recipes listed below but they all look holiday worthy! Let me know if you find a winner.

Cocktail -Try this festive twist on the Moscow Mule, ’cause who doesn’t love a super cold copper mug filled with refreshing ginger beer?!

Apps – I like antipasto platters because there’s a little something for everyone to nibble on. Sometimes I will invite guests to bring one small bite which makes for an interesting board and cost friendly. Those darn meat and cheese boards can get expensive!

Main – Spicy Turkey Breast (Been there done that, maybe you want to scratch the big bird too), Crock pot Three Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Focaccia Stuffing with Leeks or this Wild Mushroom stuffing looks pretty good too and Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette (looks like a time saver).

Sides – Dinner rolls from your local baker (save yourself some time here) and I think homemade cranberry sauce is worth every extra minute in the kitchen.

Dessert – Okay someone has to try this deep dish pie, its looks so so good. And if you need something gluten free and dairy free try this Pumpkin Tart.

Table Inspiration – Check out the magnolia leaf runner and after you’re done with Thanksgiving Dinner place it on your mantel for Christmas!

If you’re feeling a panic attack settling in right about now then I recommend (drum roll please) TURKEY POT PIE! It’s genius. I am pretty sure you’ll find every ingredient from the Thanksgiving menu wrapped in a delicious pastry dough. Just saying, you could hit the hot springs all morning/afternoon and come home to a bubbling pie. Think about it. Here’s an article to guide you through your non-traditional dinner.

Good Luck and remember don’t sweat the small stuff! XO Kate

Autumn in my veins

October 30, 2016

apple-tart

Happy Halloween!

Anyone else still trying to put together a last minute costume? The good news is the Autumn weather is holding and kids won’t have to layer a snowsuit underneath. That was the worst.

I don’t get too excited this time of year because I know what’s around the corner. Hurricane like winds, white landscapes and bad moods in case you were wondering. So naturally I try to defy the inevitable by preserving the fruits of Autumn and neatly stacking the jars of care and affection into my pantry. This year we were mostly busy trying to keep up with the plum and apple trees but mixed in a couple canners of chock cherry syrup, pickled beets and salsa. With 18 fruitful apples trees we ended up with over 100 quarts of pale pink applesauce, A LOT of 1/2 gallon jugs of raw apple cider and far too many taunting apple desserts in the house. I am currently trying to perfect my apple tart. My last try showed promise but think I have a couple more tweaks to the crust. I have also been working on a walnut ice cream tart topped with warm apple slices.  This dessert combines some of my favorites things so I can confidently say it’s nearing the top of my favorites list. I have yet to bake an apple pie but I have sliced and frozen plenty of apples for a winter pick me up. I’ve always stayed tried and true to the family recipe but I thought one way to make change without change is with a decorative crust. I’ve really been inspired lately by a photographer and cookbook author from Sweden, Linda Lomelino. So I am trying this look and this look. The latter may inspire you to wow your Thanksgiving dinner guests!

apples

autumn-in-my-veins

So what else have I been doing besides canning and crying about Winter since I last posted almost 2 months ago? Well we finished up haying and harvesting. And with all the tractor hours logged I listed to some pretty good podcasts. this one being a favorite: Corinne Bailey Rae’s The Heart Speaks in Whispers. There’s six episodes that average around 20 minutes each. She explores the themes and personal experiences that fueled  her latest album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers. Exploring the different ways that we can become more consciously connected with our bodies, minds and the natural world around us. Corinne speaks to philosophers, experts, musicians, authors and artists across the field as she examines the art of being ‘present’. SO GOOD!

We weaned calves the day after Labor Day so we are serving the boys and girls every morning and evening now for the next 6 or so months. We’ve also been working on replacing an old coral system.  And it looks like we might actually get to pat ourselves on the back this year. You might think there’s not a whole to it but let me tell you its nothing short of a full design starting with grading, excavation and concrete work for the new barn, chute and tub system followed by welded steel panel corals. This isn’t something you tear down and start from scratch in 5 years so there’s a lot of opinions and ideas to sift through. Oh and how could I forget the family was nominated and recognized as a winner for Montana State’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship family busy award!

apple-picking

cooper-hereford-ranch

My youngest sister twisted my arm for another family photo session. This one focused around my 3 nieces and nephew and my youngest sister and her son. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t make a living photographing kids cause I’d be broke and crazy. I love ‘em all to pieces but it’s really really hard to get a good photo when someone (ahem, Miss Molly) is trying her hardest to kill every photo. The good news is I think we ended up with a handful of wall worthy photos!

miss-molly

applesauce

family-portrait

Luke and I are nearing the end of our first design/build project together. And yes, we are still together and happy and I have actually started designing our next project. I can’t wait to share photos. Its killing me but I really want to hold off a little longer until cabinets, counters, tile etc are done. You know, the aesthetics that actually make it look like a house! So stay tuned cause were hoping to be done before Christmas! Luke and I also celebrated 5 years of marital bliss in October. Its true, well at least the 5 years part!! 🙂

And since I still have Autumn in veins, below are a couple great boots I’ve stumbled across! Yes, I have a problem.

1. I ordered these and can’t wait for them to arrive!

2. These remind me of a pair of boots Luke wears and I love them.

3. My sister bought these wedges and I am a little jealous!

4. And I really want to order these.

FIELD DINNER | COOPER HEREFORD RANCH

August 31, 2016

Menu

Farm Dinner

I was going to scratch farm dinners from my schedule this summer but when a couple friends caught wind of this news they were eager to share their opinions (and I am glad they did)! So on Sunday August 21st the ranch hosted the annual field dinner under the willow trees.

This year was a little different from prior years. It was by private invite only, which means I hosted all my favorite people. And I teamed with friend and chef Claudia Mesa. The first time I met Claudia I knew it wouldn’t be the last time we met around a table. So this time I wore my party planner hat and she wore her chef hat. When we were curating the menu I requested the stew she made awhile back for an event we were both attending. The flavors were a reflection of her Caribbean and Latin American roots. So she recreated it featuring Cooper Hereford beef and it was to die for. And Claudia was kind of enough to share her recipe here or I have also printed it below. When we started tossing around dessert ideas Claudia told me she didn’t have much of a sweet tooth and asked for my guidance. I of course jumped at the opportunity to end the evening with one of my confections. But ranching and construction summoned me the week leading up to the event so thanks for the last minute pound cake Claudia. Maybe I’ll get it done next year!

Oh, and how could I forget the three musketeers. This was another change from prior years. My nieces Sadie (left) and Grace (right) along with my nephew Tad were at each table’s beckon call. They held platters, popped beer caps and wine corks like it was their day job, politely cleared plates and were enthusiastic with every move. And I shouldn’t forget Molly (not pictured) who decided bar tender during cocktail hour would suit her well. So she managed the margarita station serving drinks and asking guests whether they preferred a single or double shot. Did I mention she’s five. Thanks kids, you received high marks!

I thought I would also throw a couple dinner party tips at ya! I’m by no means an expert so take ’em or leave ’em!

Always have background music playing. My recent dinner compilation is here. Warning….its eclectic!
There will always be guests that arrive early so be prepared to place a drink in their hand and have a couple small bites around.
Have easy access to an ice bucket and scoop for those mixing and pouring their own drinks. And always have beer and wine visible so guests can serve themselves.
Create ambience with flickering candles and a fire.
Set the table with cloth napkins if you can. Here is a great napkin folding guide.
If you have more than 15 guests consider renting glasses. You don’t have to worry about your favorite glasses getting broken or doing dishes at the end of the night.
The food doesn’t have to fancy or fussy. Just pick a couple things you are confident in, not something you found on Pinterest the day before.
Always have a little something something for dessert. This can be homemade or as simple as a piece of rich dark chocolate.
If you are dining outside be prepared for hot and cold weather all within a short time span. A fire or throws will do the trick.
Relax and have fun. I’m always a little stressed or anxious in the beginning but I just try not to show my guests!

Three Musketeers

Claudia’s Caribbean Beef Stew / Serves 26-30

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

8 lbs. Copper Hereford Sirloin Roast
Katie provided us with a little over 8 pounds of sirloin roast. I was so pleased to find barely any waste as I trimmed the roast in 1″x1″ cubes
1 organic STRIKE FARMS, yellow onion, cubed, about 1 cup
2-3 large organic carrots, we love our neighboring STRIKE FARMS, -sliced, about 1 cup
2 large celery stalks, cubed
2 garlic cloves, mashed and minced
1 large red bell pepper, cubed- it doesn’t have to be red but we like the color and it is sweeter than the green variety
2-3 TBSP Claudia’s 5-C Spice Mix (secret recipe follows)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 organic butternut squash, cubed
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, do not drain
3 cups of cooked Timeless Food chickpeas, or 2-12 ounce cans, drained
1/4 cup chopped organic cilantro, for garnish
1/2 cup of toasted organic coconut, for garnish
1/2 cup toasted pecans, for garnish

HOW TO MAKE IT

I like using a pressure cooker when making stews.Besides cutting the cooking time by more than half, they break down the muscle tissue in the beef or lamb, leaving them tender and soft without drying their juices.

In a large bowl, I normally add salt and pepper to the beef after having towel dried their excessive moisture. Then I like to add about 1 tablespoon or a bit more of a good quality olive oil, making sure they all get coated evenly. I then add about 2 TBSP of the 5-C rub and toss, making sure each cube of beef gets its share of seasoning.

If not using a pressure cooker, I use a Dutch Oven, mainly because I like finishing the stew in the oven versus the stove, giving it a nice even heat.

Set your burner at a medium-high. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and when hot, throw in your cubed sirloin and brown. Turn and with a slotted spoon, place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add a bit more of olive oil, maybe another tablespoon, and when hot, throw in the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and red bell peppers, that make up the base for the stew.

Once onions begin to look translucent, I normally add the spices/rub, salt and pepper. I would use between 2 and 3 tablespoons for an 8 pound roast, but I will let your taste buds be your guide. Your entire kitchen is going to smell with the aromas of the rub.

You can now bring the beef back into the pot. Add the squash and toss to turn. Go ahead and add the tomatoes, liquid included and the chickpeas. If you are using a Dutch oven instead of a pressure cooker, you are going to want a cup or so of water, or better yet, beef broth.

Set the oven to 350, and place the Dutch Oven, covered, in the middle rack. Cook for about 2 hours, making sure to check its moisture levels. Add more liquid when needed and baste.

Otherwise, close the lid on your pressure, and cook for 45 minutes, in high pressure.

Once done, serve in a large bowl, topping with roasted coconut and pecans. We love to serve our stews with Timeless Food Cilantro-Lime Farro.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THE 5-C Rub

1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP semi-sweet ground chocolate (Not Dutch)
1 TBSP Hatch Chili powder
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP dried cilantro
2 TBSP Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Use amount needed and store remaining spices in a spice jar.

Home Sweet Home | Part 1

August 9, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Luke and I live in an old three bedroom farmhouse on my family’s ranch. When we moved from California to the old farmhouse on the ranch, I converted one bedroom to an office and another a maze of cardboard storage boxes. In our minds, the move into my family’s farmhouse was temporary while we sifted through real estate sites. It was supposed to be a transitional home.

Three years later we are still here and so are the boxes. And so earlier in the summer I asked Luke if it could be possible that we were actually living on our dream property. The community is filled with artist and farmer/rancher types. We are nestled in a secluded valley outside of booming Bozeman. We are surrounded by ‘pay per view’ mountains and verdant ag land. We wake to song birds and fall asleep to the systematic *shhhh-tik-tik-tik* of sprinklers. Maybe just maybe we needed to walk down our half mile driveway and look at our three bedroom farmhouse from a different perspective. And that’s when I bribed him, “I’ll make you a chocolate peanut butter silk pie if you tear out the shag carpet, retexture the popcorn ceiling and help me conquer the complicated maze upstairs.”

After updating the dining area/living room I am feeling like I can’t ask to0 many favors especially since we are right in the middle of our first design/build project together. Thanks Luke, it looks great!

 

Dining Area

I’ve searched high and low for the perfect tea pot and I think I finally found it here.

I hummed and hawed about this purchase, which is kind of crazy considering I toss almost every salad in it.

This book may be responsible for the updated living space! I highly recommend the read if you want a simple uncluttered  life.

Add these three budget friendly wines to your refrigerator while summer still lingers. Poema/Bicudo Vinho Verde/Cavalchina Bardolino Chiaretto Rose.

I’ve been living in these tees. I now have five colors!

A week or so ago while I was waiting in line at Lowes I picked up a Better Homes and Garden magazine. The entire issue is dedicated to delicious tomato recipes. Go get it.

Sitting Area 2

 

Sitting Area

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